The Market


RM goes downhill in St Moritz

RM goes downhill in St Moritz 9th September 2022

It was entertaining, but despite the laugh-a-minute patter of Harry Dalmeny at the rostrum the Canadians latest venture in the upmarket ski resort failed to capitalise on the recent bull run of auction results. Just four out of ten cars found new owners on the night.

The ‘room’, actually an indoor tennis court behind the Kempinski Hotel, started full but gradually cleared. By the time the headlining Bugatti Type 57S – the final lot of the evening, never a good omen – came up, Lord Dalmeny and Peter Wallman faced a sea of mostly vacant chairs, and the car received no meaningful offers. Throughout the sale, bidding on the big entries was solely via the telephones; few dealers attended the sale, though there was a brace of serious collectors.

The UK Chairman of Sotheby’s was on lively form, rattling through the 22 car-catalogue with brio. After all, “Some people have got homes to go to; some have several,” he quipped.

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: CHF 6,432,300 (2021, CHF 16,302,625)
* Percentage sold by number: 41% (2021, 74%)
* Top-selling car: 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible CHF 2,142,500 gross, CHF 1,900,000 net (est. CHF 1.9m to CHF 2.6m)    
* Well sold? Finding buyers for the oddball Zagato-bodied Ferrari and Bentley (not to mention the Maserati 450S Recreation) was some achievement. Good luck to the new owners
* Well bought? Of the nine cars that sold? Possibly the red 599 GTO at CHF 770,000 (est. CHF 800k to CHF 1.2m), but that was subject to VAT on the full purchase price and premium

Two Aston Martins made the running on a poor night for the Canadian colossus.  First up was the LHD DB5 Vantage, an escapee from Bonhams’ usual stranglehold on Kuwaiti Astons. To a rare spec – though with triple SUs rather than Webers – and with matching numbers engine and chassis, the Silver Birch/red hide DB5 sold for a strong CHF 1,130,000 with premium – around $1.2m. Which is punchy, but the car needed restoration. Add another $400k to that and it’s a $1.6m DB5, a figure not seen since the height of the market in 2014-2015.

The non-Kuwaiti LHD DB5 Convertible was a typical Aston Martin Works Service restoration to ‘as new’ – not always a good thing, with a red interior that glowed in the dark – and was the subject of strong bidding to its eventual CHF 2,142,500 gross (ca. $2.2m). That’s some distance off prices recorded at auction in recent years. In the scheme of things, probably well bought.

The Miura P400 had been restored, but not by any recognised expert and, having spent much of its life with an American V8, carried a likely non-matching engine and bore a fairy tale blue/white interior. Estimated at CHF 1.4m to CHF 1.6m, it was probably overvalued by at least CHF 500k. It failed to sell, and neither did the red Countach 25th Anniversary.

The lovely looking Bugatti Type 57S Atalante had – per the catalogue description – experienced a sometimes mixed and rough life up to the early 1970s. As Gooding sold an as-good-as-it-gets original SC Atalante at Pebble Beach last month for $10,345,000 all-in, the estimate on this one of CHF 10m to CHF 12m was clearly way out.

The random nature of the Bugatti appearing in this sale at all summed the event up – an odd selection of cars in a remote location, all at super-strong estimates and presented to a small audience mainly only there for an evening out. Monterey or Rétromobile it was not. As the results show.

RM Sotheby’s in St Moritz, 9 September 2022 – results (2021)

Total gross cars: CHF 6,432,300 (CHF 16,302,625)
Number of cars not sold: 13 (6)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (0)
Total number of cars: 22 (23)
Number sold: 9 (17)
Percentage cars sold by number: 41% (74%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 22% (72%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 67% (65%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 100% (82%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 0% (12%)
Average value of cars sold: CHF 714,700 (CHF 958,978)
Average year of cars offered: 1986 (1989)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 9% (9%)

Photos by K500